USL Week 2 Recap: Rhinos Wins, MLS2 Sides Showing Early Dominance

IMAGE, USLSOCCER.COM

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

Week 2 in the USL allowed the remaining teams like Rochester and San Antonio to get in on the action with their first games of the season. It also let teams like Cincinnati and Bethlehem Steel settle in after big debuts and dramatic wins.

While the storylines from Week 1 certainly continued their development, it was the arrival of the champions that dominated the weekend. Rochester scored a typical 1-0 win over Pittsburgh, proving their return to 2015 form.

They weren’t the only team exuding confidence as MLS 2 sides had a great weekend winning a majority of their games for the second week running.

ROCHESTER RETURNS WITH STRONG DEFENSE

The mark of the 2015 Rhinos was their stingy defense. Rochester only allowed 15 goals in 28 games last year and continued that form in their first game of 2016 with a 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

Rhinos co-leading scorer last season, Christian Volesky, provided the game’s only goal in the seventh minute as he calmly placed a ball past the Pittsburgh keeper. From there it was business as usual with Pittsburgh pressing but not breaking Rochester’s sturdy defense.

The Rhinos will remain on the road for two more games against Richmond and New York Red Bull II. Both games will prove to be tough tests early in the season as Rochester has a large targets on their back as the defending champions but also one of the league’s mosts impressive sides.

MLS 2 SIDES SHOW GREAT FORM IN WEEK 2

The underlining story for USL Week 2 has to be the dominant performance of MLS2 sides early in 2016.

NYRB II, Swope Park Rangers, LA Galaxy II and Vancouver Whitecaps 2 all had wins this past weekend,  most in dominant fashion. What is even more impressive is that New York, Swope Park and Vancouver all won their games on the road in front of tough fanbases.

From these teams, it is easy to see the standout players. New York has Brandon Allen, the homegrown striker, who already has three goals in 2016. His smooth finish off of a Junior Flemming pass showed his ability to strike under pressure and set aside the hostile atmosphere in Louisville. That atmosphere is the type of situation he would experience in MLS should the call up happen this year.

For Vancouver it was 23 year old Daniel Haber who scored his first two goals for the Whitecaps USL side after joining the team from the Cyprus First Division. Haber played for Cornell in the Ivy League before making the jump to the Israeli League in 2013.

Of course, not all MLS 2 sides are seeing success in 2016. Both Portland and Seattle have USL teams that are struggling in big ways. Seattle has lost all three games to start the year and are yet to score a single goal. For Portland it isn’t much better as they remain above Seattle in the Western Conference with their two goals scored but no points yet on the new year.

USL Week 2 Results:

New York Red Bull II: 2
Louisville City FC: 0

Richmond Kickers: 0
Wilmington Hammerheads: 0

St. Louis FC: 0
LA Galaxy II: 3

Arizona United SC: 2
Seattle Sounders FC 2: 0

Charleston Battery: 0
Orlando City B: 0

Harrisburg City Islanders:1
Charlotte Independence: 2

Rochester Rhinos: 1
Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 0

Swope Park Rangers: 2
Tulsa Roughnecks: 1

LA Galaxy II: 3
Real Monarchs SLC: 3

St. Louis FC: 3
Orange County Blues FC: 1

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2: 3
Portland Timbers FC 2: 1

Arizona United SC: 0
Sacramento Republic FC: 1

FC Cincinnati: 2
Bethlehem Steel FC: 1

San Antonio: 3
Seattle Sounders FC 2: 0


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